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It is 1996 and it’s hard not to notice that Gloria Gaynor’s anthem “I Will Survive” has truly revealed its prophetic strength by its sudden revival by a quickly rising Sacramento-based band known as Cake, who reinterpreted the 70’s hit on their instant classic album “Fashion Nugget.” Now fast-forward a decade, drop the “Fashion” and what you are left with is NUGGET, lending their hand to revive the music of Cake – although to them these rock stars who prefer the fringe of the music community never went away.

NUGGET formed in 2000 with the sole intention of recreating the music of Cake down to its core – which of course, for the true Cake fans includes the use of the donkey rattle when called for. “We want to get as close to sounding like Cake as possible,” explains lead singer, rhythm guitarist and donkey rattler Steve Barry, who co-founded the band just ten hours south of Sacramento with his friend and lead guitarist Pete Thompson.

Another old friend was recruited when the pair moved to their current base of Macomb, IL – Jim Mueller had signed on to play the drums. The only components missing were what give Cake its self-described “shambolic country funk” sound– the bass and the band’s signature trumpet. An ad on soon brought bassist and St. Louis native Dan Hauer, and trumpet/keyboard player Joel Andreason who holds a degree in music from Western Illinois University in Macomb.

“It’s totally unbelievable that we found musicians to pull off these parts,” Barry said. “Cake’s music is very complex – we are talking about odd time signatures for pop music and arrangements that are extremely dynamic.” Hit songs like “The Distance,” “Never There,” “Rock N Roll Lifestyle,” and even their latest single, a cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” testifies to that statement and all make their way on to NUGGET’s setlist – or routine as some may call it after witnessing the humor-drenched interaction of the band and their crowd.

“Cake, especially their lead singer, are very stoic on stage, but their music is very ‘tongue-in-cheek.’ I just try to physically and verbally portray this on stage and keep the crowd involved,” said Barry, who uses his sarcasm so often in a night that it should be listed as another instrument on NUGGET’s MySpace page. This tribute-don’t-call-us-a-cover band-or-we-will-fight-you (don’t worry, they won’t win) aims to leave their crowd with the satisfaction of hearing Cake music to the backdrop of a much more animated live show than their musical mentors.

NUGGET’s claim to fame is they are definitively “The #1 Cake Tribute Band in the World.” They narrowly beat out the only other Cake Tribute Band hailing out of Hungary. No offense to the Hungarians, but NUGGET is where it’s at.